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Athens accused of ‘downplaying’ dangers of lead contamination

at Lesbos camp | International growth


The Greek authorities is “downplaying” the dangers of lead contamination within the refugee camp on Lesbos, in line with Human Rights Watch.

The group is looking for additional complete testing on the Mavrovouni camp after outcomes revealed that one space had notably excessive ranges of lead contamination.

About 21,000 sq m of the previous navy camp tailored to accommodate refugees in September final 12 months had beforehand been used as a firing vary, elevating issues in regards to the potential for lead publicity.

About 7,000 individuals, together with 1000’s of youngsters, reside within the short-term camp, which is now 5 months previous and was constructed after the close by Moria camp went up in flames final September.

After requires transparency, Greek authorities launched the take a look at outcomes of 12 soil samples taken from the camp, also referred to as new Kara Tepe, certainly one of which confirmed 2,233 milligrams of lead a kilogram. The traditional restrict for residential areas in Greece is 500 milligrams a kilogram.

The authorities have said that this pattern was present in an “administrative” zone for NGO employees and isn’t in a “residential” space. The federal government mentioned that it was taking a collection of measures to mitigate any contamination, together with including new soil within the affected zone. It has issued assurances that it poses no important threat.

Nevertheless, in gentle of the findings, Human Rights Watch says pressing additional complete testing of the whole website is crucial. The organisation mentioned that camp residents have been seen queueing up within the administrative space to entry NGO providers and that residents should additionally learn in regards to the well being dangers of lead publicity.

The group additionally famous that since youngsters have been noticed enjoying throughout the location, together with within the space of the previous firing vary, it will be extra applicable to measure the findings in opposition to the appropriate ranges for lead in Greek playgrounds, which is 100 milligrams a kilogram.

New refugee camp in Kara Tepe or Mavrovouni, Lesbos
The camp at Mavrovouni, constructed on a former navy base, has been housing refugees since fireplace destroyed the ability at Moria final September. {Photograph}: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Pictures

Belkis Wille, senior disaster and battle researcher at Human Rights Watch, mentioned that whereas the Greek authorities had taken some constructive measures, extra wanted to be achieved.

“The steps of testing and transparency are extremely essential and are transferring in the fitting route,” she mentioned. “That mentioned, we’re deeply involved that the federal government is undermining that transparency by misrepresenting what the outcomes present, and they don’t seem to be warning camp residents and support employees of the dangers that they proceed to face within the camp.”

Wille additionally mentioned that the European fee, which has contributed important funds to the Lesbos camp, ought to press Greek authorities into additional motion.

“Till additional testing takes place, there isn’t any manner for anybody residing or working within the Mavrovouni camp to know whether or not they’re in danger or not,” she mentioned. “That must be a matter of concern to the European fee in addition to Greek authorities.”



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